In this “what’s-going-to-happen-next?” 2020, the American Gaming Association is gearing for its first-ever virtual Global Gaming Expo this month.
G2E isn’t among Las Vegas’ largest trade shows, with around 27,000 attending from around the world in 2019. But it’s certainly one of those shows that truly belongs to Las Vegas.
At past G2Es, the trade show floors turn into a shopping mall with all of the newest slot machine gadgetry on display for casino company representatives to peruse.
On stages in ballrooms and large halls, newsmaking executives, celebrities, regulators and politicians talk about the gaming industry’s topics du jour. In smaller meeting rooms, panelists debate a multitude of gaming issues and enlighten all about a broad range of policy concerns.
But like just about everything about 2020, G2E this year is going to be different.
“We all wish we could be in Las Vegas this year, but obviously the health guidance and circumstances won’t allow for that, so we’re doing everything we can to provide that same experience online,” said Cait DeBaun, the AGA’s senior director of strategic communications and responsibility. “We’ve never done anything like this before, but that’s never stopped us.”
The AGA has no head count yet on how many have registered for the virtual trade show.
The online version of the largest gaming industry gathering in the world begins Wednesday with a complimentary public preview presentation featuring executives from three resorts that rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic better than most of their peers. Justin Carter, general manager of the Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio; Kathy George, CEO of Firekeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan; and Laura Stensgar, CEO of the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort and Hotel in Idaho, will share how they did it.
After Wednesday’s opener, G2E’s virtual platform opens and runs through Oct. 26. That’s where some of the business of gaming will be conducted with a series of virtual meetings between representatives of casinos and manufacturers.
Two days of educational presentations are then planned Oct. 27 and 28 with most of them fitting within themes that are certainly relevant to today’s gaming industry.
Don’t expect G2E to be the lead gaming story when it occurs. There’s also a certain downtown Las Vegas casino opening that will be going on around then. Circa’s grand opening date was established before G2E opted to move online.
The primary topics for G2E 2020, with panelists attacking topics from every angle:
How tribal enterprises are surviving; recovery and leadership in reopening Nevada; how consumer attitudes are changing; the sea change in the C-suite; how casinos are managing mandatory training; where does the industry go from here; gaming during the pandemic; unanticipated legal vulnerabilities; and financial fallout from the pandemic.
Online gaming and sports wagering
What states are next for online gaming; how leagues are capitalizing on sports betting through partnerships; creating a meaningful customer experience in sports betting; how sports betting and tribal gaming came together; evolving sports betting research; and will more markets legalize remote betting.
How payment modernization advances responsible gaming; contactless guest experiences; payment modernization; and omnichannel systems.
G2E also is the backdrop for the presentation of several industry awards.
One of G2E’s keynotes, Oct. 27, will feature Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada interviewed by AGA President and CEO Bill Miller on public policy and COVID-19. Considered a champion for the gaming industry, the senator had an up-close view of gaming and tourism as a daughter of former Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Manuel “Manny” Cortez.
“Sen. Cortez Masto provides a tremendously important perspective right now on what’s happening in Washington and how the gaming industry is reflected in ongoing relief discussions,” DeBaun said. “It’s been a top priority of the AGA this year to provide the relief needed for the gaming industry to rebound and recover from this pandemic and she’s been a key champion, so we’re excited to have her join us.”
No offense to the AGA, but most people aren’t looking forward to an online conference the way they’ve looked forward to G2E live and in person.
We’re already looking forward to G2E 2021.
Several high-profile Nevada gaming leaders will be on computer screens for G2E panels, including current and former Nevada Gaming Control Board chairwomen Sandra Morgan and Becky Harris — the first women to head that regulatory board. Others scheduled for panels:
-Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Director of Research Kevin Bagger.
-Eilers & Krejcik Gaming partner Chris Grove.
-Scientific Games executive Howard Glaser.
-Konami Gaming Executive Vice President Tom Jingoli.
-William Hill US CEO Joe Asher.
-Wynn Resorts Ltd. general counsel Ellen Whittemore.
-Everi Holdings CEO and former Gaming Control Board Chairman Mike Rumbolz.
-UNLV International Gaming Institute Executive Director Bo Bernhard.
-MGM Resorts Chief People, Inclusion and Sustainability Officer Jyoti Chopra.